The virtual-reality business is well into its latest trough of disillusionment after its last period of hype. Research firm IDC is putting a brave face on the latest figures for VR headset shipments, however. It claims that shipments are down by 33.7% year-on-year, suggesting that the three biggest ‘tethered’ headsets – HTC’s Vive, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStationVR – only sold 111k, 102k and 93k units respectively in the second quarter of this year. That’s 306k shipments between the three of them, although you can add another 212k shipments of the Oculus Go and Xiaomi Mi VR ‘standalone’ VR headsets, as well as 409k ‘screenless viewers’ – devices that use a smartphone like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View. Still, overall shipments down by a third.
Here comes the brave face: “IDC expects this to be a temporary setback as the VR market finds its legs,” claimed the company. “The arrival of new products, such as the Oculus Go and HTC Vive Pro, and new brands, combined with the need for greater headset fidelity all point to a positive outlook for the quarters ahead.”